Champions League: Bayern Munich wary of Juventus fightback with quarter-final spot in sight - Firstpost
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Champions League: Bayern Munich wary of Juventus fightback with quarter-final spot in sight


Munich, Germany: Bayern Munich take on Juventus on Wednesday in the Champions League last 16 return-leg clash eager to cut out mistakes and prevent a repeat of the Italians' first-leg fightback.

Bayern host the Italian champions at the Allianz Arena looking to seal their fifth consecutive quarter-final appearance in the Champions League.

The Germans were steaming towards the last eight when Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben put them 2-0 up in Turin before Juventus pounced on mistakes inMunich's ranks with goals by Paulo Dybala and Stefano Sturaro.

Bayern Munich's coach Pep Guardiola and Xabi Alonso during training ahead of Champions League match against Juventus. Reuters

Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola (R) with midfielder

"We played well for the first 60 minutes, went 2-0 up and suddenly it was 2-2," said Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski.

"We have to be careful, because Juventus can defend well and wait for their chances."

Juventus are unbeaten in their last 19 games, but suffered a set back on Monday when key players Claudio Marchisio and Dybala were ruled out with calf injuries.

"They are still Juve and are still the same strong team," said Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola.

"I know the Italian mentality and they have won a thousand titles with it -- that's how it is, regardless of whether Marchisio plays or not."

Allegri was already missing defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Martin Caceres, while former Bayern striker Mario Mandzukic is nursing a knock.

There is also a question mark over Bayern winger Arjen Robben, who sat out training on Wednesday with a cold.

Complicated Juventus

French winger Franck Ribery says the Italians are more than capable of pulling off an upset in Munich.

"They defend very well and they don't give you much room to play," said Ribery.

"We played them in 2013 and twice won 2-0, but it's always complicated Juventus.

"They are always good on the counter, dangerous with free-kicks and corners, so we have to play intelligently."

Ex-Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld believes Bayern are "vulnerable on the break and Juventus will be lurking".

Mainz proved just how vulnerable Bayern are when they became the only side to win at the Allianz Arena this season with a 2-1 victory just over a fortnight ago.

Bayern lost despite enjoying 78 percent possession and firing in 17 shots on goal and Juventus' analysts will have noted the way Mainz patiently took their chances.

Bayern's injury crisis in defence has eased though and Guardiola is set to field Joshua Kimmich and Medhi Benatia at centre-back, while he has the luxury problem of which stars to leave out with Germany's World Cup winner Mario Goetze now back from a groin injury.

Lewandowski (34) and Thomas Mueller (27) have scored 61 goals between them this season in all competitions and they contributed three goals in Saturday's 5-0 drubbing of Werder Bremen in Germany's top flight.

Pressure on Guardiola

Their Spanish playmaker Thiago Alcantara also netted twice in an impressive display.

Juventus' last Champions League win in Munich was back in 2004, but history favours the Italians.

Their record in two-legged ties against German sides is 13 wins and just three defeats, while Bayern have won four and lost six times to Italian opposition.

"For us to qualify, we have to play better than in the first leg," said Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. "We mustn't be so nervous and have no fear."

Guardiola is under pressure to deliver silverware in his third and final season inMunich before taking over at Manchester City.

The Spanish coach has won five titles in Munich, but is eager to sign off with the Champions League trophy which has so far eluded him after exiting in the semi-finals the last two seasons with Bayern.

"I know what'll happen if we don't win the Champions League," said the Spaniard.

"I have to live with the pressure. It's been like that for this club for the last 40 years: when we win, everyone is happy, when we don't, they are unhappy."

Factfile on Bayern Munich and Juventus ahead of the Champions League last 16, second leg between the clubs at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday:

First leg

Feb 23

At Turin, Italy

Juventus (ITA) 2 (Dybala 63, Sturaro 76) Bayern Munich (GER) 2 (Mueller 43, Robben 55)

Form:

Bayern Munich tuned up for the return leg with a 5-0 rout of Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Thomas Mueller and Thiago Alcantara both netted twice with Robert Lewandowski coming off the bench to claim his 24th league goal this term as Pep Guardiola's men stayed five points clear of Borussia Dortmund at the top. Bayern were beaten 2-1 at home by Mainz though less than a fortnight ago, which will give Juventus reason to believe they can pull off a surprise in Germany.

Juventus made it 18 wins in 19 in Italy as Paulo Dybala's first-half strike powered the Bianconeri to a 1-0 victory over Sassuolo on Friday and kept the Turin giants three points clear of Napoli in Serie A. Massimiliano Allegri's side also reached the final of the Coppa Italia earlier this month, but only after beating Inter on penalties having seen a 3-0 lead from the first leg wiped away in Milan.

Coaches:

Bayern Munich - Pep Guardiola (ESP) -- 45 yrs

Juventus - Massimiliano Allegri (ITA) -- 48 yrs

Leading scorers in all competitions:

Bayern Munich - Robert Lewandowski (34 goals)

Juventus - Paulo Dybala (18 goals)

Group stage performance:

Bayern Munich - Winners of Group F ahead of Arsenal

Juventus - second in Group D behind Manchester City

European Cup/Champions League best performances:

Bayern Munich - Winners in 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013

Juventus - Winners in 1985, 1996

Other honours:

Bayern Munich - 25x German champions, 17x German cup, 4x German Supercup, 1x European Cup Winners' Cup, 1x UEFA Cup/Europa League, 1x European Supercup, 2x Intercontinental Cup 1x FIFA Club World Cup

Juventus - 31x Italian champions, 10x Italian Cup, 7x Italian Supercup, 1x UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, 3x UEFA Cup/Europa League, 2x European Supercup, 2x Intercontinental Cup

Previous meetings:

Juventus 1 Bayern Munich 0 - 2004/05 Champions League group stage

Bayern Munich 0 Juventus 1 - 2004/05 Champions League group stage

Bayern Munich 2 Juventus 1 - 2005/06 Champions League group stage

Juventus 2 Bayern Munich 1 - 2005/06 Champions League group stage

Bayern Munich 0 Juventus 0 - 2009/10 Champions League group stage

Juventus 1 Bayern Munich 4 - 2009/10 Champions League group stage

Bayern Munich 2 Juventus 0 - 2012/13 Champions League quarter-finals

Juventus 0 Bayern Munich 2 - 2012/13 Champions League quarter-finals

 

With Inputs from AFP

 

First Published On : Mar 16, 2016 15:24 IST

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